HTC shall re­main strong on global stage

The China Post - - COMMENTARY -

Smart­phone ven­dor HTC is one of the few Tai­wanese com­pa­nies that have es­tab­lished them­selves as suc­cess­ful global brands. How­ever, its stock price took a hit this week plum­met­ing to the NT$ 70 range. It was nowhere close to its NT$ 1,300 peak in its glory days, while NT$ 14.5 bil­lion in cap­i­tal­ized value has evap­o­rated into the air within two days.

This all hap­pened af­ter HTC made a down­ward ad­just­ment on its sec­ond- quar­ter fi­nan­cial fore­cast re­cently — the rea­son be­ing its high- end phones and pen­e­tra­tion in main­land China fell short of ex­pec­ta­tions. The com­pany fore­cast a NT$ 5.1- bil­lion loss on its smart­phone busi­ness.

Early this year HTC rolled out three high- end mod­els in just a month. Com­pany staff and con­sumers alike are re­port­edly con­fused about the com­pany’s ar­ray of prod­ucts, as there are no clear flag­ship mod­els, while high- end phones have spec­i­fi­ca­tions found on mid- and low- end ones.

A num­ber of busi­ness lead­ers have voiced their sup­port for HTC in the wake of the com­pany’s de­ba­cle, in­clud­ing Far Eastern Group ( ) Chair­man Dou­glas Hsu ( ) , Fubon Fi­nan­cial Hold­ing ( ) Vice Chair­man Richard Tsai ( ) and Catcher Tech­nol­ogy Co. ( ) Chair­man Hung Shui- shu ( ).

Ex­ec­u­tives know how hard it is for HTC to com­pete in an in­dus­try dom­i­nated by smart­phone bell­wether Ap­ple Inc. and be­he­moth Sam­sung, which re­ceives back­ing from the South Korean gov­ern­ment.

The prob­lem fac­ing HTC is that in this cut­throat com­mer­cial land­scape, it is no longer enough to sim­ply make good phones. Ap­ple re­al­izes that, and has made ad­just­ments to its screen sizes to make iPhones more ap­peal­ing to con­sumers. The am­bi­tious Sam­sung has been up­ping the ante since it un­veiled its Galaxy se­ries years back.

The ques­tion is al­ways can com­pa­nies pro­vide prod­ucts/ ser­vices that make peo­ple happy? When a con­sumer doles out money, will he or she re­ceive “sat­is­fac­tion” in ex­change? This prin­ci­ple should hold true in any busi­ness.

Peo­ple spend money to buy “hap­pi­ness.” We up­grade to 4G be­cause the con­nec­tion is faster. We go to theme parks to get a good ex­pe­ri­ence with friends or fam­ily. We dine in nice restau­rants for de­li­cious food. We go to Star­bucks be­cause its cof­fee tastes won­der­ful. Many peo­ple go to Zara be­cause wear­ing fash­ion­able clothes makes them feel good.

So if not for hap­pi­ness, why do peo­ple spend money? A good rule of thumb to judge a busi­ness’ fu­ture chances of suc­cess is “Are there re­turn cus­tomers?” Con­sumers in gen­eral are very sen­si­tive. They know it when they like some­thing, or not, im­me­di­ately.

It ap­pears that Ap­ple has many happy cus­tomers. Its iPhones are fast, re­li­able, pretty, easy to use, light, etc. — all at­tributes that make peo­ple happy. Sam­sung, although not the undis­putable leader in the smart­phone in­dus­try, is catch­ing up fast.

HTC de­vices have myr­iad good at­tributes too, but there is al­ways room for im­prove­ment, as there is for Ap­ple and Sam­sung and other play­ers. Per­fec­tion is an illusion, but we can al­ways make things bet­ter.

Com­pe­ti­tion al­ways brings the bet­ter part out of one­self. The Tai­wanese phone maker only has to look at its peers for ideas on how to make bet­ter phones, or how to make its cus­tomers hap­pier — to give them a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence.

Chal­lenges, road­blocks and set­backs are usu­ally “op­por­tu­ni­ties in dis­guise.” Fail­ure only oc­curs when one gives up try­ing, oth­er­wise, when one pon­ders, re­flects, and makes cor­rec­tions, he or she can al­ways emerge anew as a suc­cess. We look for­ward to HTC over­com­ing its ad­ver­sity and stay­ing strong on the global stage.

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